Brian Eno wins German prize for contribution to electronic music | News | DW | 30.11.2014
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Brian Eno wins German prize for contribution to electronic music

British musician and glam rock star of the 70s Brian Eno has won the German Giga Hertz Prize for his work in electronic music. Over five decades, he has worked with artists including David Bowie, U2 and David Byrne.

On Saturday evening British music producer Brian Eno received the 10,000-euro (12,448-dollar) Giga Hertz Prize for electronic music at the Imatronic Festival at the Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in southwestern Germany. The 66-year-old was awarded the prize for his life's work of "musical transgressions and his innovative thinking in the field of internet and sound installation".

Since performing with British band Roxy Music as a synthesist in the 1970s, the English all-rounder has worked as a musician, composer, producer, sound artist and arranger, for the likes of Coldplay, Depeche Mode, U2, Genesis, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Paul van Dyk, Robert Fripp and David Byrne. Eno also played a key role in the development and popularization of Ambient music.

'A tailor of musical clothes'

Eno is one of the most important advocates of electronic music. He was is not only the inventor of a music genre but also a "mastermind of the recording studio," said ZKM director Peter Weibel. Eno use ssounds like colors and, as a producer, he tailors "musical clothes," Weibel said.

At Saturday's presentation, Eno praised the the German state of Baden-Württemberg for financially supporting culture - something which free market fundamentalism governs against in his homeland, Eno said. In today's circumstances, going to art school would have been impossible for Eno and his colleagues like Pete Townshend and John Lennon.

'Singing is among the best things in life'

"In England, I've been singing in an a-cappella group for 16 years," Eno said in Karlsruhe. "We don't do any concerts or take pictures - it's about the fun of it. We sing gospel music, country and western and folk songs. Singing is among the best things in life."

After the award ceremony, "father of techno" Pierre Henry performed the final concert of Imatronic Festival. The Giga Hertz Prize has been awarded by the ZKM, together with the Freiburg Experimental Studio of Germany's Southwest Broadcasting Corporation (SWR), since 2007. It is regarded as the most significant and best endowed award for electronic music. Previous winners include renowned composers such as Pierre Boulez, Jonathan Harvey and John Chowning.

As well as the prize for Eno, three production prizes of 5,000 euros (6224 dollars) were also awarded at the ceremony to Brazilian composer Giuliano Obici, Spanish composer Lula Romero and "Vinyl Terror & -Horror," the Danish sound artists Camilla Sorensen and Greta Christensen.

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